Free Vaccination Available against Pertussis available in Shelby County

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June 7th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is asking for more adults to be vaccinated against pertussis. Through the G.I.F.T. (Give Immunity Fight Transmission) program, officials with Shelby County Public Health say they can immunize more families by receiving the Adacel vaccine at no charge.  New mothers, fathers, grandparents, and day care providers are urged to get vaccinated against pertussis to decrease the spread of this highly contagious disease to infants and others. 

Recipients of the free Adacel vaccine must have Medicaid, Medicare, or no insurance and have an income level at or below 200% of the federal poverty level ($1985 per month for a family of 2). Interested persons may contact Shelby County Public Health at 755-4422 to make an appointment to receive the Adacel vaccine against pertussis or may register on-line at www.shelbycountyclinics.com.

According to the CDC, people who are not vaccinated have eight times the risk of infection compared to people who are fully vaccinated against pertussis. If someone who has been vaccinated does get pertussis, the disease is usually less serious and they’re far less likely to spread the virus to someone else. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) joins the CDC in urging Iowa adults to talk to their health care provider about getting a booster dose of pertussis-containing vaccine.

While children ages 5 to 14 years make up the bulk of reported cases, it’s important to note that adults are considered the primary ‘spreaders’ of the disease.  It’s especially important that adults receive pertussis-containing vaccine because they can spread the disease to infants who are too young to be immunized. In infants, pertussis can be severe and even deadly. Adults can receive the Tdap (the adult tetanus vaccine that also contains whooping cough vaccine) immunization.

For more information about pertussis, including the Iowa Pertussis Update, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/Cade/default.aspx?group=3#DI.